France sells Dassault stake
France is selling its entire 15.74-percent stake in French industrial software group Dassault Systemes, French bank Societe Generale said Tuesday. The sale, through a placement of shares with qualified investors on the internat-ional market, was expected to generate between 530 million and 580 million euros (US$571 million to US$625 million), the bank, which is managing the deal with Credit Suisse First Boston, said. Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault, which owns 45.22 percent of Dassault Systemes, will waive its pre-emption rights on the state holding, Societe Generale said. Shares in Dassault Systemes surged 3 percent to 3.66 euros in opening trading while the CAC 40 index of leading French stocks gained 0.96 percent.
■ Real estate
Singapore rents drop 12.5%
Office rents in Singapore's prime districts dropped by a steep 12.5 percent, the biggest quarterly drop among major Asian cities, a research report said yesterday. Rents in the city-state for the three-month period ending in June slipped to S$3.10 (US$1.78) per square foot (psf), ranking behind Tokyo, Bombay, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Seoul and Beijing. The report by CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) cited the SARS outbreak and economic uncertainty as reasons behind the fall. Tokyo saw a milder 1.47 percent decline in monthly prime office rents to US$7.87 psf, but remained the most expensive in the region. Taking second was Bombay where office rents declined 4.6 percent to US$2.26 psf, ahead of Hong Kong where grade A office rents were US$2.15 psf.
Japan watches interest rates
Bank of Japan governor Toshihiko Fukui said yesterday he would be watching to see if the recent surge in long-term interest rates thwarts emerging expectations of a much-awaited economic recovery in Japan. Fukui also stressed the central bank was still "obliged to pursue monetary easing" to get the economy back on a sustained recovery path and overcome deflation. His comments came after the yield on the most-actively traded No. 252 10-year government bonds reached the highest levels since December 2000. The yield stood at barely above 0.40 percent just a few months ago. "The possibility of an economic recovery in Japan is strengthening ... in line with our scenario," Fukui said in a speech to a gathering in the central Japanese city of Nagoya, citing positive economic data and surging share prices.
Nestle to vacate Korea
Nestle, the Swiss-based multinational food giant, said yesterday it is considering pulling out of South Korea because of "reckless" labor unrest. "Our head office has instructed us to consider legal steps for the closure of Nestle's plant in South Korea," a Nestle Korea spokeswoman told reporters. She said Nestle's manage-ment was exasperated by "reckless" labor action by workers affiliated with the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), a militant labor group. The group has led a wave of labor strife, demanding shorter working hours and union participation in manage-ment decision-making which has already led to the closure of four foreign-invested firms operating in South Korea this year. Nestle Korea's 460-member union went on strike on July 7 demanding a 11.7 percent pay hike and a say in management. The company has proposed a 5.25 percent wage increase.
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: China might impose a blockade, conduct limited force operations, use an air and missile campaign, or resort to an invasion, the report said The US Department of Defense has identified four possible military courses of action that China could take against Taiwan, but did not offer any guess on when Beijing might be ready to act. In an annual report to the US Congress released on Tuesday titled Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2022, the department gave a broad overview of China’s military capabilities, strategy, ambitions and intentions. The report devoted significant space to developments related to Taiwan, against which it said China had intensified diplomatic, economic, political and military pressure last year. For example, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA)
Taipei on Friday rejected Hanoi’s characterization of its recent live-fire drill near Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island, 太平島) as “illegal,” saying that Taiwan’s claim to the small island in the South China Sea was “unquestionable.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a statement that the comments made by its Vietnamese counterpart about the military’s routine live-fire drills near Itu Aba on Tuesday were “unacceptable.” Earlier on Friday, Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang called Taiwan’s military activity “a serious violation of Vietnam’s territorial sovereignty,” saying it had caused tensions and complicated the situation in the region. Hang
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is planning to offer advanced 4-nanometer chips when its new US$12 billion plant in Arizona opens in 2024, an upgrade from its previous public statements, after US customers such as Apple Inc pushed the company to do so, according to people familiar with the matter. TSMC is expected to announce the new plan when US President Joe Biden and US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo visit the facility near Phoenix for a ceremony on Tuesday next week, the people said. The TSMC plant had been slated to make 5-nanometer semiconductors, a standard that would be far
PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE MEETING: The statement by the former US representative came as Congress is poised to back US$10 billion to bolster Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities Former US representative Will Hurd yesterday said visiting Taiwan has made him realize that China’s “one country, two systems” framework is not a feasible solution for Taiwan. Hurd, who is visiting Taiwan with an international delegation, made the remarks when meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) at the Presidential Office in Taipei. There is bipartisan support for Taiwan in Washington, with Republicans and Democrats agreeing that only the 23.5 million Taiwanese can decide the nation’s future, said Hurd, a trustee at the Washington-based German Marshall Fund think tank. Former German lawmaker Marieluise Beck said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has changed mindsets